Airline share prices ended 2022 down on the same point 12 months earlier, following a challenging year for markets around the world.

FlightGlobal’s index of prices for 18 publicly listed airlines covering Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America shows their shares were on average 8.5% lower at end-2022, when compared with the 2021 closing price. That follows a year in which they largely trended above end-2021 levels through to late April, before being below that metric for the remainder of the year – including a low point of -20% in late September.

Those developments put the industry’s fortunes in line with those of stock markets around the world, which saw factors such as rampant inflation and rising interest rates weigh on investor sentiment during 2022, alongside concerns including geopolitical tensions and other negative economic indicators. The share price falls at airlines came despite the strong Covid-19 recovery seen at many carriers across the year, which was reflected in a bumper third-quarter earnings season.

The overall fall in airline share prices would have been much more severe had it not been for the positive performance of shares in Asia-Pacific (see graphs below), as a timely boost from the later reopening of international borders in the region and the less-challenging local economic outlook meant most prices ended 2022 at a higher level than those seen 12 months earlier.

Singapore Airlines (+11%), Cathay Pacific (+33%), Qantas (+20%) and Air China (+28%) all ended the year with their share prices significantly up from 12 months before. Joining the Chinese flag carrier, China Eastern and China Southern closed the year higher by a few percentage points, as their home country finally began to ease Covid-related international travel restrictions and drop internal controls. Among the airlines tracked by FlightGlobal, Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo was the only one in Asia-Pacific to see a year-on-year fall in its share price at end-2022 – and that was just a tiny drop of 0.49%.

Elsewhere, however, aside from an incredibly strong performance from Turkish Airlines – which was not included in the index calculation due to the outsized impact it would have on the global figure, thanks to an unusual confluence of factors driving huge share-price rises – and a 26% rise at Lufthansa, every other carrier surveyed in North America and Europe ended 2022 with their prices down on end-2021 levels, in some cases significantly.

Low-cost carrier Wizz Air was a standout performer at the wrong end of the spectrum with its share price down 55%, as was EasyJet with a 42% year on year drop.

Air Canada was among the better performers, with its price down 9% at end-2022 compared with one year earlier, while United Airlines led among the US majors, with a 14% fall, versus a 16% drop at Delta Air Lines, 29% at American Airlines and 21% at Southwest Airlines.

A huge fall at Air France-KLM was attributable to a significant degree to a dilution that took place in May 2022, while British Airways and Iberia parent IAG was among the better performers with a reverse of 13%.

Among the major stock markets, Nasdaq ended 2022 more than 30% down from end 2021, with the S&P 500 around 20% lower and the Dow Jones index 9% down. The UK’s FTSE 100 was around 1% up year on year, but falls of around 12% were seen in Germany’s DAX index and the pan-European Stoxx 600. In Asia-Pacific, markets in India, Indonesia and Singapore ended the year up by a few percentage points, but the same could not be said of key markets in Japan and China, which saw falls.

Five-year airline share-price trends are published monthly by FlightGlobal as part of the Airline Business Covid-19 recovery tracker.